Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Viewpoint: we must regain customer faith

04 December 2009 by
Viewpoint: we must regain customer faith

Peter Hancock, chief executive of luxury hotel marketing consortium Pride of Britain Hotels, says the issues surrounding tipping are far from settled.

"Well, the law on tipping was changed, so that's all settled now, is it? Apparently not.

The legal loophole that allowed tips to be used to top up wages to the national minimum for waiting staff has been closed and the British Hospitality Association has issued a code of conduct based on transparency to guide employers. If universally adopted, this would silence for good the continuing clamour for an end to exploitation by greedy employers, currently being driven by the trade union Unite.

Whatever side of the argument you hold, it's undeniable that all of us in the hospitality industry have a vested interest in cleaning up our tarnished image. If youngsters, teachers and parents think everyone working front of house in hotels and restaurants is paid badly or, worse still, is denied access to gratuities left in good faith by those they serve, we shall never attract the best and brightest people into the trade.

When I was a waiter and then restaurant manager in the late 1970s there was no minimum wage, no deductions for live-in accommodation, no tax or National Insurance taken from the wads of £1 notes we collected on a busy night. Tips were a great incentive to go the extra mile for your customer and were usually shared out fairly, with no need for the owner to get involved. But since then, trust has been eroded and we must now try to restore the image of the trade. Let's hear it for the thousands of operators who pay well above the minimum and had never even considered diverting tips into the payroll.

Yes, there are winners (including HMRC) and losers resulting from the change and it has come at a horrible time for companies struggling in the recession, but first and foremost we need the public to know they are not being tricked or deceived by rogues when they come to our establishments.

Transparency is the key. If customers know for sure where the tip is going they'll be twice as likely to leave one. And if staff are paid properly in the first place, as many are, good service just comes naturally."

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

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